Sunday, February 14, 2010


It's Spring!  I feel it in my bones.  I have been watching the critters come alive, the snow and stream melt, and tree maple trees start to bud.  All week, I have eagerly awaited Sunday ... it is time to tap the maple trees.

Last year, we put in eight taps.  Our usage rate was very high in early Spring and Summer.  At this point, we have less than a half-pint left from last year.  We are going to change our processing methodology this year, too.  Last year, I stored up 100 gallons of sap before processing ... do you know how long it takes to boil down that much sap?!  I spent a few weekends (20 hours per) boiling in the backyard over a fire.  As a result, I lost some of the sap, which I offered back to the trees with my thanks and gratitude.  This year, we are going to try to boil smaller batches every night.

The day has finally arrived.  I woke up and reviewed Backyard Sugaring.  I've asked the neighbors for permission to tap some of their trees again, even though we probably have enough maples on our property to support our miniscule ten taps.  I have five more buckets, spouts, and lids on order from The Maple Guys.  Maybe, we'll expand again next year.  Of course, then I may need to think about an evaporator like this. 

Imagine my surprise, when I finish tapping the first hole, when nothing starts dripping.  Self doubt and panic set in.  Could my intuition be wrong?  Then, I am only putting in two for now as indicators.

A while later, I walk by and hear the tell tale drip, drip, drip.  I check the weather, and low and behold, and find it is just now above freezing!  You may or may not know that the sap only flows during hours when the temperature is above freezing.  My intuition is right on!  I guess part of re-leaning lost wisdom is also learning to trust your intuition.  Something, which I admit, I normally do not have a problem doing!  We will be putting the rest in this afternoon.  I am sure there will be more to follow on this sugaring season.

Happy Spring!


  1. Wow! I can't believe you are starting to tap trees already...but you are significantly south of us here in central Ontario. We have magnificent maples on the farm which we eagerly tapped a few winters, but the work...We ended up boiling most of the sap on the outdoor barbeque and finishing it up in the house on the stove. It was expensive syrup, but so delicious!.. it was so nice to hear you writing about the tap-tap of the sap drippiing.

    And as for trusting your intuition..I find the more you trust it, the stronger it becomes. Julie

  2. I am so looking forward to the syrup over the coming year. There is just no better sweetner, in my opinion (and I really like sugar!), for yogurt and oatmeal than maple syrup.

    And hearing the *tink*, *tink*, *tink* of the sap hitting the bottoms of the buckets ... well, there's just not much better than that ;).

    We'll have to see if we can find a bowlful of clean snow back in the woods so that we can make maple syrup candy for the girls ;). They would LOVE it!

  3. Being so far south helps, but we are also fairly close (within 2-3 miles) to the ocean. It is a mjor factor in moderating our weather. There is often a 5-10 degree difference between here and a few more miles inland. This is not really normal though ... we really should have been clobbered like some of the Mid-Atlantic states instead of having nothing on the ground.


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